December 16, 2008

Get organised next year - Here are a few books to help.

Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits has a couple of great little books for anyone wishing to improve their "Zen-ability"

The two books are focused on decluttering, improving efficiency and generally improving life.

Zen to Done book (Click here to view more details) is a simple system to get you more organized and productive, and keep your life saner and less stressed, with a set of habits. ZTD teaches you:
  1. The key habits needed to be productive, organized, and simplified … and no more than that.
  2. How to implement these key habits … tips on forming a habit.
  3. How to organize these habits into a simple system that will keep everything in your life in its place.
  4. How to simplify what you need to do.
  5. Minimal ZTD. Also includes an even simpler version called Minimal ZTD.

Why buy the e-book?
Of course, the ZTD series is still available for free on his blog, so that option is still available. So why would you buy the e-book? A number of reasons:

  1. It’s handy. All the articles are gathered in one easy-to-read e-book, making it easy to print stuff out, read it on any computer, or take it with you. Much more convenient than a bunch of scattered blog posts.
  2. There’s more material. To be honest, the series of ZTD posts was incomplete, simply because Leo didn’t have the time to write all the posts he had planned. Well, when he set out to write this e-book, he decided that he wanted to include everything that he had planned and more, from the 10th step (not available as a post on his blog) to an FAQ to a practical application of ZTD in everyday life to resources to forms and more. More on this stuff below.
  3. Forms. Leo decided to give a sample of how you could set up ZTD with some simple forms. Of course, ZTD is flexible … you don’t need to use these forms, but Leo thought they’d be useful.
  4. Resources. Links to articles and tools are available in the e-book.
  5. FAQ. A number of readers had questions/comments about ZTD that Leo thought he’d answer in the e-book. I think this will be a useful feature.
  6. Snazzy new look. The e-book is much nicer looking than the blog, in my opinion, and is easier on the eyes. It was designed by James Wondrack, and I’m very grateful to him for his work on this.
  7. Author support. If you have questions about the book or any of the concepts in it, Leo is available to answer questions. Just email him: zenhabits at the gmail. This in itself would probably be worth twice the price of the book if Leo charged for his services. :)
His other book Zen Habits Handbook for life ( Click here to view more details ) is a more detailed look at his principals.

What will this book teach you to do? Basically the same things that Zen Habits aims for overall: how to simplify your life, how to live a happier life, how to be more productive with less stress, how to achieve your dreams. Think of it as a little handbook for a better life, in a convenient e-book format.

I should give a caveat: while I think these are great articles that will be of use to almost anyone, they are all available on his blog for free if you search for them. So why would you pay $6.95 for this e-book if it’s already free? I’ll be honest: if the money is an issue, you shouldn’t pay. You can search for these articles and print them out or format them yourself, and that would be the cheaper option.

However, there is definitely some value to the e-book, and I know you’ll find it worth the price. Some of the benefits of buying the e-book:

  1. Zen Habits essential articles gathered in one convenient place. No need to search or dig through the archives, print or reformat into a word processing program. That’s a significant time savings, which for you guys is extremely valuable, as your time is worth 50 times what I’m charging for the e-book.
  2. Zen Habits made portable. If you’re going on a plane ride or some other location where you need some good reading, you can take this with you anywhere, even without an Internet connection.
  3. It’s printable. This e-book has been designed for reading on the screen, and also to print out nicely.
  4. It has a nice design. Leo hired Charlie Pabst of Charfish Design to do this e-book and asked him to give me a very simple layout. He delivered beautifully, and I’m proud to offer this good-looking e-book to you guys. Btw, Charlie does excellent work and does it quickly — a tough combination to beat. Check out his site.
  5. It makes a good gift. Without spending a lot of money, you can give someone the gift of happiness and a simpler life by purchasing this e-book and emailing it to them. Gift-giving can’t get any easier!
  6. It’s like a donation, where you get something in return. A lot of you have been generous enough to donate to Zen Habits, allowing Leo to achieve his dream of blogging full-time. Those donations continue to support him and mhis family, but buying this e-book is a relatively painless way to donate, if you feel compelled to do so, because you get some nice reading material in return.

Here’s the table of contents:

Section 1: Simplicity

  • Decluttering
  • Single-tasking
  • Edit Your Commitments
  • Eiminate All But the Essentials
  • Don’t Do Everything on Your To-do List
  • The Art of Doing Nothing
  • Declutter Your Mind
  • 72 Simplicity Tips
  • Eat Slower

Section 2: Productivity

  • Purpose Your Day: Most Important Tasks
  • Focus on the Big Rocks
  • Clear Out Your Inbox
  • Clear Your Desk
  • Become an Early Riser
  • Become Motivated When You’re in a Slump
  • Make the Most of Your Laziest Days
  • Decompress After High Stress

Section 3: Happiness

  • Cultivate Compassion in Your Life
  • Escape Materialism
  • Practical Tips for Living the Golden Rule
  • Accept Criticism With Grace and Appreciation
  • Have Faith in Humanity, and Restore Kindness
  • Boost Your Self-ConīŦdence
  • Live Your Life Consciously

Click here to purchase


While we are on the topic of books for Christmas, (and understanding that you want to make things easy and simple) why not check out Todoodlist - a brand new way of keeping track of your action items using plain old pencil and paper. Not complicated, very versatile and well worth looking at.

Todoodlist is a fun, easy-to-read, instant-download eBook with:
  • 7 fun essays exploring our complex lives, including Zen Kitten in a Box and Parrots in Space.
  • 5 awesome ideas to be more productive with paper. Includes the Todoodlist, a deliciously low-tech fun approach to keeping a to-do list.
  • A simple 5-step system to reduce complexity in your life that you can put into practice today and get results straight away.
  • A no-nonsense, indispensable blueprint for starting new projects to help you launch faster, hit your targets and achieve your dreams.
Treat yourself this Christmas. Get a book to help you get organised next year

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